News in support of successful living: business & economy, health & wellness, education, youth, the arts, politics, sustainability & social trends. Featuring news of the west side of Vancouver Island. 



Orca Whale (L79). Vessels to now keep their distance from whales.

Friday, July 13 ~ BC.  Keeping a distance from whales: new regulations.  Whales and other marine mammals are the subject of new Canadian regulations (previously recommendations) by which boaters are to maintain certain distances or be faced with hefty fines.The new rules that came into effect July 11 require boaters to maintain a 100-metre buffer zone (200 metres for orcas).

Under the Fisheries Act, penalties range from $100,000 to $500,000. Repeat offences could result in a higher fine amount or even imprisonment, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The new rules will impact the on-water tourism industry, particularly whale-watching excursions. Vessels must stay out of the path of oncoming whales out to 400 yards (366 m). Vessels may not intercept a whale or be positioned in the path of a whale.

Among other reasons, the proximity of loud motorized vessels is thought to interfere with the ability of whales to communicate with each other for feeding or maintaining pod cohesion.

In BC, the orca is an iconic aspect of regional arts and culture, tourism, and Indigenous culture.


Rock the Shores stage and crowd, July 13 in Colwood [West Shore Voice News photo by Sophia Romanchuk]

Friday, July 13 ~ Colwood. Colwood is a rock and roll mecca this weekend July 13-15, as the first day of Rock the Shores came to a close Friday night. Music lovers from across the West Shore and the broader Victoria region have been looking forward to the return of the 3-day-long music festival, after its hiatus last year.

Rock the Shores attracts a diverse music festival audience. The crowd included children, retirees, and college youth alike. With the festival grounds sporting different areas, one could choose if they wanted to be in the heat of things right up by the stage or relaxing on a picnic blanket or lawn chairs further back. Something for everyone.

The back field area behind West Shore Parks & Rec offers ample area for a positive approach for a festival venue, something that people can sometimes find overly compressed or crowded.

The lineup, featuring some of the greats like ‘Juliette And The Licks’ and ‘X Ambassadors’, set up a good tempo and pack of memories for the rest of the weekend. By late Friday evening, the crowd seemed to leave even more excited for the next two days then when they had arrived.

Coming up, another two days — Saturday and Sunday — packed with amazing artists. Audiences can get excited for Corb Lund, Jesse Roper, The Sheepdogs (8pm), and Social Distortion (9:30 pm) and others on Saturday night. The Sunday lineup starting at 12:40 pm includes Fox Glove, Frazey Ford, and Bahamas, and closing at 8:30 pm with Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. Schedule: www.rocktheshores.com/schedule


Rugby Canada’s Gareth Rees discusses upcoming World Cup Rugby Sevens tournament with women’s captain Ghislaine Landry and men’s captain Harry Jones, with Mayor Stew Young representing the City of Langford as a major sponsor, July 12 at Bear Mountain [West Shore Voice News photo]

Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. There was a send-off recognition event for Canada’s men’s and women’s rugby teams today July 12 in Langford, as they get ready to depart for San Francisco as part of the annual Players’ Championship Golf Tournament. [View this article on its own page]

In a round of 16, the women’s first game — Canada vs. Brazil — will be on July 20, viewable live at www.cbcsports.ca starting 11:06 am PDT. The first men’s game — Canada vs Papua New Guinea — will be on July 20 at 1:23 pm PDT. All matches throughout the men’s and women’s competition will be presented live on www.cbcsports.ca .

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, which features the world’s top 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams, will be played on 20-22 July at the iconic AT&T Park in California. With the recently confirmed innovative ‘knock-out’ tournament format both the men’s and women’s teams will have to win every match to be crowned World Cup winners.

Rugby Canada’s CEO Allen Vansen and Commercial & Program Relations Director Gareth Rees hosted the send-off today, an event held in partnership with Bear Mountain, Butchart Gardens & the City of Langford.  Acknowledged sponsors were: DHL, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Velocity Trade, Kubota, Butchart Gardens, Westin Bear Mountain, Ecoasis, City of Langford and Mayor Stew Young.

Canada will once again be led by Captain Ghislaine Landry (of Toronto), whose 984 points all-time leads all scorers on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Series. “With a knockout format it’s going to take four games for us… four games at 14 minutes, 100%,” said Landry to the crowd today. Landry said the team has learned a lot of things this year and that belief in the group is pretty high.

“We know that we’re capable of doing it. The whole year was important building into the world cup. We really dialed into the things that we needed to have a hard look at. Going into this world cup, the biggest thing is the belief,” said Landry at the podium in the hot summer sun.  The women’s team line up heading to San Francisco is:

Olivia Apps, Lindsay RFC (Lindsay, ON)
Britt Benn, Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Pam Buisa, Ottawa Irish (Gatineau, QC)
Caroline Crossley, Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RCF (Montreal, QC)
Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Sara Kaljuvee, Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
Ghislaine Landry, Captain, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
Natasha Watcham-Roy, Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)
Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)

The men’s team is headed up by Harry Jones (of North Vancouver), who at the podium first thanked supporters before saying that this year’s slow start for the men’s team “obviously got away from what we did best last year”. Jones said: “We’ve fixed up a few of those key things. Just hoping to keep it simple for this next tournament.”

Jones said the team will do best to not look past the next opponent. “Papau New Guinea is the first team we play … they’re a great team, they like throwing the ball around and they get a little bit loose. In Sevens you need to be dialed into that first game,” he said.

“Twelve of us are going to the World Cup, but a whole bunch of others helped us get here,” said Jones. “Our team mates worked just as hard as us this year. I know a few boys are sad about the decision.” Jones acknowledged the support of Langford, and the physio and conditioning staff to get them ready. Canada’s Men’s Roster for Rugby World Cup Sevens:

Connor Braid – James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Admir Cejvanovic – Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
Justin Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Captain,Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Luke McCloskey – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Matt Mullins – Queen’s University (Belleville, ON)

This month’s event in California will be the first-ever Rugby World Cup in any form in USA and only second in North America after Canada hosted the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta.  A delegation of Langford supporters will be heading to San Francisco to cheer on the team.

Jacklin Road with a northbound view to Jenkins, one day before reopening. [West Shore Voice News July 12/18]

Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. Hot day out there! But roadcrews were working hard today for Jacklin Road at Jenkins to be open on schedule for tomorrow, at 9am on Friday July 13.

There’s still the work of installing sidewalks, landscaping, signal lights and 40 mm of top lift asphalt to do, but that will be done in phases.

Therefore some traffic delays can still be expected on Jacklin between Jenkins Road and Sooke Road in the weeks ahead.

A set of signal lights will be installed on Jacklin Road mid-way between Jenkins Road and Division Ave, as part of a Belmont Market access point.

GE Contracting road crew, on Jacklin Road, July 12 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Currently the Division Avenue exit onto Jenkins/Kelly alongside the Belmont Residences sale centre will have no-left turn signage. That way, traffic will flow from that point alongside West Shore Town Centre toward Veterans Memorial Parkway

PHOTO >>: GE Contracting crew July 13 happy about the near-opening of Jacklin Road after several months of work (from left): Steve McColm, Donnie Willsie, Dave Tillich.


Jacklin Road will re-open to through-traffic starting July 13, 2018.

Thursday, July 12 ~ LANGFORD. That stretch of Jacklin Road from Jenkins over toward Sooke Road will be open again starting 9am Friday morning, July 13.

The City of Langford prides itself on getting their construction and roadworks projects done on schedule.

The Jacklin Road opening is phased. Construction of sidewalks, the installation of landscaping, and installation of traffic signals and top life asphalt is still being done.

So while the road will be open to both northbound and southbound traffic, it’s still a construction zone. As such, there will still be some traffic delays.

Many motorists are now quite used to travelling on Division Avenue (through the Belmont Residences/Market construction site), which has been a detour during this four-month road closure in what is a busy part of town for commercial use and through-traffic.


BC Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure Claire Trevena

Wednesday, July 11 ~ BC.  BC Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) Minister Claire Trevena said yesterday that she will hold a discussion on Thursday July 12 with her western Canada counterparts about different approaches to providing intercity bus service. [See this article on its own page]

This is in the wake of Greyhound Canada announcing that by October 31, 2018 it will end all intercity bus service in western Canada (points west of Sudbury, Ontario through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC).

“We got very little notice that Greyhound was pulling out of western Canada,” Minister Trevena told media. “It’s a a Canadian problem affecting people in Ontario, out to the coast,” she said. Only one route remains in BC — that one runs Vancouver-Seattle, operated by the Greyhound out of the United States.

Trevena says that the BC government aims to assure people that they will have safe, reliable transportation by bus. She articulated that not everyone can afford to travel by plane, train or car.

“We”ll need to have some bus service, and will try to deal with that before October 31,” said Trevena, adding that private bus service providers will be part of a possible future solution.  She also said the Ministry would be “talking to people within communities” (apparently including municipalities) to try and “make sure the gap is filled”.

“Very quickly private operators came in and built a route,” said Trevena about working with private operators in other situations. “Nothing is off the table.” BC Transit will also be in the discussion loop.

“We want to make sure people can travel safely and affordably around this province,” the Minister declared, adding that “the federal government does have a role to play” in seeing that bus service is provided “right through” Canada. “They have not done so, so far.”

Greyhound Canada will cancel service in western Canada as of Oct 31, 2018

Trevena said that the BC Government did not want to directly subsidize Greyhound, in part because the company’s services were not meeting the needs of riders. She said that daytime routes are more suitable for intercity travel.

BC has been running a pilot project in the north on Highway 3 and some other interior routes this year, in response to Greyhound providing an earlier notice about “pulling out in the north”, said Trevena.

It would seem by Trevena’s surprise at Greyhound’s announcement this week, that MOTI did not extrapolate a pullout beyond the north. That’s even though “Greyhound executives spent the last five years trying to work some resolutions out,” as Trevena told media yesterday.

Greyhound Canada will cancel service in western Canada as of Oct 31, 2018

Monday, July 9 ~ BC. Greyhound Canada bus service ends in BC as of October 31, 2018. That’s in addition to all of the private company’s bus services ending in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta on that date, as well as in Ontario west of Sudbury. [Read this article on its own page]

One route remains in BC — from Vancouver to Seattle — because that route is run by the US division of Greyhound. This will have a significant impact on rural transportation services in BC.

Greyhound Canada cited financial survival (due to a significantly low level of ridership — worsening since 2010) as their reason for dropping the service.

Low-cost airline travel and more efficient cars are likely part of the competition factor. Business critics say that Greyhound did not appreciably improve any of their services over the years, thereby offering less and less of a desirable transportation option.

Upon hearing the news today, BC’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena issued a statement in response to news that Greyhound Canada is discontinuing intercity bus service in British Columbia, and much of Canada:

“Greyhound’s decision to completely eliminate service in Western Canada by October 31, 2018 is hugely problematic for people who depend on Greyhound in the Interior, Sea-to-Sky, and to get to and from Alberta. This move will leave people with limited options to get around, and this will likely impact the most vulnerable.

“It’s unfortunate that Greyhound did not communicate their plans sooner. At no point did Greyhound reach out to me, or my staff, to have a conversation on solutions to keep people connected – something I would have expected, given their long history in this province,” said Trevena.

The BC Government will be looking into options: “In the weeks and months ahead, I will be sitting down with other service providers, the private sector and local government to discuss how we can ensure people have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation to get from one community to the next. In the meantime, I hope that other local, private operators will see an opportunity to bring a badly needed service to the parts of the province most affected by Greyhound’s decision.”

Location of the wildfire near Tugwell Creek, in the vicinity of Sooke, BC (shown in yellow area on map). [Map screenshot: BC Wildfire Service, July 9, 2018]

Monday, July 9 ~ SOOKE. The wildfire at Tugwell Creek is now 100% contained, as of mid-morning Monday July 9. The fire was first detected at a size of 4 hectares on July 2 and reached 84 hectares at its largest active point.

“Crews are working inward from the perimeter, doing mop-up activities,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant today, July 9.

Yesterday on Sunday July 8, there were still 63 firefighters, two pieces of heavy equipment, seven water tenders, and two helicopters on site, for attending to the active wildfire.

The fire event is now called ‘non active’ by the BC Wildfire Service. Mopping-up including looking for hot spots and putting those out. That process can take one to two weeks with ground crews, heavy equipment and water tenders, says Grant.

Some BC Wildfire information last week showed the burned area to be as much as 100 hectares. “But the area that burned out didn’t get beyond 84 hectares,” says Grant.  “It looked larger than that with all the smoke, but once helicopters got up in the air Friday morning, the 84-hectare area was confirmed.

Smoke from the fire reached into parts of Greater Victoria for a few days during the most active burning period.


New LED directional arrows were installed in June on Hwy 14 along challenging curves [West Shore Voice News photo]

Sunday, July 8 ~ SOOKE. The current online survey about improvements to Highway 14 (Sooke Rd) is available online to July 15 at www.gov.bc.ca/highway14 or comments can be emailed: highway14@gov.bc.ca

Is the approach to encouraging public transit use (six new bus pullouts) the right approach for major expenditure? There have also been recent improvements with lighting, safety signage, speed readers, and line painting plus specific bridge improvements and work along Otter Point Road.

Are crosswalks working well in town centre? What about the no-left-turns at Townsend Road that have impacted business and community — can that be reversed? Are there enough signalized intersections (in addition to the one coming at Sooke River Road)?

What about the confusing road name change to West Coast Road after you’re west of Otter Point Road?

With the Premier being MLA for the area that includes Highway14-dependent Sooke, this is an optimal time for input.

This online opportunity for input follows the walkabout display-board public input event that was held at EMCS in Sooke last month.

> This article first published in the July 6, 2018 print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.


Sunday, July 8 ~ BC. To help families be provided with child care, Budget 2018 announced a $221-million investment in the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. More details were announced July 6:

• Streamlined application process and a continuous intake, rather than fixed application dates, allows child care providers to apply for funding when they need it, even if they are planning longer-term projects. Helps ensure continual supply of licensed child care spaces.

• Boards of education to have 100% eligibility (up from 90%) of their total project cost ($500,000 maximum), for child care spaces they create.

• For the first time: prioritizing or targeting funding to public-sector partnerships — including local governments and boards of education — that are looking to create child care spaces with other non-profit providers. These partnerships may apply for up to 100% of the total cost of their project (to $1 million maximum). Parents will benefit from public projects that provide greater stability and help protect them from lease or fee increases.

• Successful applicants for Childcare BC New Spaces funding must participate in the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative to help ensure that the new spaces remain more affordable for BC families.

• Child care spaces created by child development centres or Indigenous communities remain eligible for 100% their project costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. This will help ensure that children throughout BC will continue to have their physical and cultural needs met through programs that are tailored specifically for them.

• Not-for-profit organizations will be supported to create new child care spaces, with these organizations remaining eligible for up to 90% of their total project costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. Private child care providers remain eligible for 75% of the total cost of their project, up to a maximum of $250,000.

Info sessions coming soon: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund


Crowd at the 4th Annual Eats& Beats at Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood, July 7, 2018 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Saturday, July 7 ~ COLWOOD. There was a huge turnout for the 4th annual Eats & Beats outdoor beach gathering at Esquimalt Lagoon in #Colwood today July 7. 

Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) dropped by to check out the lively long walk of food vendors, market, displays, and live music that ran 1 to 8 pm.

Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) at Eats & Beats, July 7 [West Shore Voice News photo]

There were thousands of people, most of whom arrived in the hundreds of cars parked for kilometres. There was also bus service, and other people were dropped off and walked down to the oceanfront.

People lined up at the food trucks for a variety of treats including hot foods (including poutine and burgers) and of course ice cream.

Tables under cover of sun umbrellas were provided and others ventured onto the sand to enjoy treats and family time by the water.

The live music was catchy.

There were crews to direct traffic, and West Shore RCMP had a presence in their vehicles.

Some vendors tried out Eats & Beats for the first time, including Oak Bay Bicycles (West Shore) who had bicycles people could try out for a quick spin on site.


Saturday, July 7 ~ JUAN DE FUCA. As of 11:25 am today Saturday July 7, the Tugwell Creek fire west of Sooke is being held (unlikely to spread) at 80% contained.

Resources today include 88 firefighters, seven water tenders, heavy equipment and three helicopters says #BCwildfire | @BCGovFireInfo

The fire is on private forestry land. A nearby beekeeper’s operation is apparently not adversely affected. Smoke has periodically reached into the Greater Victoria area contributing to grey skies and minor air quality issues for some residents.

Cowichan District Hospital

Friday, July 6 ~ DUNCAN. A new hospital will be built in the Cowichan Valley, it was announced today by Premier John Horgan. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.

The new facility in Duncan will triple the size of the current hospital (built in 1967) that has 134 beds.

The planning for a replacement hospital has been a collaborative effort between the Government of BC, Island Health, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District, the municipalities of Duncan and North Cowichan, local First Nations and local stakeholder groups.

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health says: “Having a new hospital, with modern technology and advancements, will do a great deal to support patients and their families in the Cowichan Valley. It will also help attract quality medical professionals, who are in high demand across the province and the country.”

Sonia Furstenau, BC Green Party MLA for Cowichan Valley and spokesperson for health, congratulated her community on government’s announcement of a new hospital in Duncan. “Our region is growing rapidly, and for good reason. The Cowichan Valley is an incredibly resilient community that comes together time and time again to make the home we all share a better place. My hope is that this hospital can be a place where that community spirit is at its very centre. It should be a place where patients aren’t sleeping in hallways, the emergency room is able to cope with the patient load and mothers can give birth and know they are not at risk of losing their children.”


Friday, July 6 ~ BC. By early August 2018, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will open its application process.

It is strongly recommended that potential licensees visit the website to carefully review all the available materials to be prepared for the opening of the application intake site, it was stated in a July 5 news release from the Ministry of Attorney General.

For information on cannabis retail licensing, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/cannabisregulationandlicensing

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has been renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, representing its new additional responsibility of licensing and monitoring the retail sale of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia.


Thursday, July 5 ~ JUAN de FUCA. [UPDATE at 11:30 pm July 5 – fire partially contained, size is 84 hectares.]

The size of the wildfire area at Tugwell Creek was up to 100 hectares as of late last night. It’s one of 54 fires currently listed as a ‘fire of note’ in BC. BC Wildifre crews will be on scene again today, with the continued use of planes dropping fire retardant and helicopters dropping water.

The fire that started July 2 somehow became ignited in an area of timber leftovers from logging (known as ‘slash’).

Fire retardant being dropped onto wildfire west of Sooke, July 4 [photo by Al Wickheim]

Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA.  As of 8:20 pm this evening, July 4, the wildfire at Tugwell Creek (west of Sooke) is still listed by the BC Wildfire Service as ‘out of control’.

The size of the burning area is now listed at 85 hectares (up from 25 hectares as of this morning, and 60 hectares around 5:30 pm). The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“Less wind and some rain would help,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant.

Today three helicopters dumping water and a plane dumping fire retardant were used at the scene.

Smoke is reaching through the west shore and other areas of Greater Victoria, creating grey skies.

Photo taken today July 4 by Al Wickheim from the west ridge above Tugwell Creek, about six miles upstream. Water tanker dropping fire retardant Tugwell Creek. Winds are from the east in this photo.

“Winds are variable and some fire crowning is making this a hazardous fire for air and ground crews,” says Wickheim. “We could hear the fire crackling from where we were. Fortunately there is no immediate threat to the bee hives of Tugwell Creek Meadery,” he said on Wednesday evening.



Fire at Tugwell Creek has reached 25 hectares in size at July 4 (photo July 3). [Facebook sourced photo]

Wednesday, July 4 ~ JUAN de FUCA. A fire continues to burn today in a logging area in Juan de Fuca, west of Sooke and west of Otter Point.

The area that is burning now exceeds 35 hectares (as of 6 pm July 4) due to more active high winds this morning, says Juan de Fuca Emergency Coordinator Jeri Grant.

Of 60 active fires in the province (as of midnight July 3), the Tugwell Creek fire is one of three listed as “out of control” by the BC Wildfire Service.  The fire was first reported on July 2 with a size of about four hectares.

“People don’t need to be alarmed,” says Grant. She says that people will see more fixed-wing planes dropping retardant, more helicopters dumping water, and more smoke. Welfare management has also sent out more ground crews.

The forest reserve land is part of Juan de Fuca, and the fire began in a slash area (where forestry activity leaves vegetative debris behind). There hasn’t been any lightning, so the fire is thought to have been caused by one or more persons with either cigarette butts, campfire, or use of ATVs in the back road areas. Even minor sparks can set off forest ‘fuel’ (leaves, branches, grassy areas, etc).

Actions are being handled by Wildfire BC and not the Otter Point Fire Department because the fire is beyond the Otter Point Fire Department boundaries.  The fire is about 5 to 6 km away from Tugwell Road where there are homes and farms.

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming shared reading time with kids at the library in James Bay, July 3 [West Shore Voice News photo]

Tuesday, July 3 ~ VICTORIA. Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming read stories to young children and chatted about how fun it is to read over the summer months while school is out.

The small gathering took place at the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library this afternoon, July 3.

Premier Horgan clearly enjoyed the interactive time with his very young audience. He joked that after reading a fun story to the kids he would be going back to his office to do more reading as part of his job.

People who just happened to be at the library today and the parents of today’s group of kids had this spontaneous opportunity to chat briefly with the Premier. One older woman clearly expressed her gratitude to Horgan for “all he is doing” for people in BC.

While this event was held in downtown Victoria, the Greater Victoria Public Library system includes libraries in the west shore including the Westhills and Goudy branches in Langford, and the Juan de Fuca branch in Colwood.

Colwood Councillor Rob Martin is chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library board.

[Read this article on its own page]


Tuesday, July 3 ~ VICTORIA AREA / West Shore focus. The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) said that in June the uncertainty of the real estate market has produced predictability, i.e. lower overall volume of sales. Their news release this month concentrated almost entirely on inventory levels and government pressures on the market.

But the elephant in the room is the ever-increasing housing prices in the Greater Victoria area. Last month the single family home average sale price was $889,097.

In the West Shore, which is considered affordable, in June the average house sale price was creeping closer to $600,000 in Sooke, was nearly $700,000 in Langford, and is creeping up toward $800,000 in Colwood. Condo prices are holding under the $400,000 price point in Langford. Here are the June 2018 prices for Langford, Colwood and Sooke (compared to the Greater Victoria average):

Single Family Homes:
Langford 60 sales     $694,169
Colwood 12 sales     $787,575
Sooke 26 sales         $578,646
GV 317 sales            $889,097

Langford 40 sales     $378,655
Colwood 4 sales       $428,250
Sooke                       no sales
GV 229 sales            $485,158

Langford 14 sales     $608,900
Colwood 6 sales       $723,250
Sooke 6 sales           $425,767
GV 77 sales              $615,919

A total of 708 properties sold in the Victoria region region this June, which is 29.8% fewer than the 1,008 properties sold in June last year, and a 6.2% drop from May 2018. The condominium sales tally was down 25.1% compared to June 2017 with 230 units sold, while the single family home sales volume was down 34.7% from 2017 with 357 sold this June.

Kyle Kerr, VREB President points to the mortgage stress test as a key impact on sales declines: “Because of decelerating growth due to aggressive government implementation of policies to reduce demand, Victoria’s real estate market has been hobbled since the start of the year when federal restrictions around mortgage qualifications were rolled out. Even demand side measures that are not yet live,” said Kerr, referring to the BC Speculation Tax that is specific to the Vancouver/Kelowna/Nanaimo/Capital Region which he says are dragging the market down as many consumers stand aside to watch what happens.”

No mention that the biggest brunt of cooling the housing market hits people least able to afford it — entry level buyers and the owners of homes at the lower-end price point. When gainfully employed people can’t buy a home, they end up near the top end of the rental market which is expensive and also displaces other renters.

There were 2,595 active listings for sale on the VREB MLS at the end of June 2018. That’s up 8.4% compared to the previous month, and 35.5% more than the 1,915 active listings for sale at the end of June 2017. Last year with the specter of rising interest rates and the pending stress test, housing inventory was rapidly depleted.

Listed properties are lingering longer on the market than usual, Kerr said. “The slower pace of the market has created more time for buyers who may have been hesitant to jump in during the high pressure market conditions of recent years.”

The development community has been hoping to see more supply. “If we see more listings over the next few months we may be heading back into a more balanced market situation,” Kerr said in the VREB news release.


Tuesday, July 3 ~ The BC Government is looking into how the implementation of a basic-income in BC might be done. Three researchers will explore the feasibility of a basic-income pilot project, and will look at how basic-income principles might be used to improve the existing income and social-support system in BC.

This is part of the Province’s efforts to reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy, it was stated in a news release today July 3. This work also relates to a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between government and the BC Green Party caucus.

David Green, from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will chair the expert committee. Joining him will be Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and Lindsay Tedds, from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. Committee work begins this summer, assisted by researchers at UBC.

The idea that knowing a basic-income would be available could reduce survival anxiety, which in turn could help reduce stress-related illness and thereby reduce costs in the health care system. There is a correlation as well to domestic and property-related violence as well, through lack of an assurance of basic sustenance. As the fear of basic survival is minimized, people look to more productive and appropriate uses of their time, talents and energy. The BC Green Party cites that when basic income was introduced in Dauphin, Manitoba, hospital visits declined by 8.5%.

The committee’s work will include consideration of the impact that advances in technology and automation, and other shifts, are predicted to have on the labour market over the next several decades.

The research will also include simulations that will look at how various basic-income models work with BC’s population. These will identify the potential impacts and financial implications of different approaches and economic conditions on BC citizens.

“The researchers will look at whether a basic income is a viable option to reduce poverty, build financial security, and increase inclusion and well-being,” says Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This is a complex area of study, and our government looks forward to learning more about how to enhance the income-support system, to achieve measurable and lasting improvements for people living in poverty.”

“Amidst trends like automation, part-time and contract work, the nature of our economy and the jobs within it are rapidly shifting,” says BC Green caucus leader Andrew Weaver. “There is strong evidence that basic income can provide greater income security, while saving costs in other areas. We proposed exploring how basic income could work in BC, because government should have a plan for the changes on the horizon. The panelists are highly qualified, knowledgeable and creative thinkers. I am excited to work with them on this innovative project.”

“Recent years have seen disproportionate increases in part-time and contract work,” says Weaver. Wages have stagnated while the cost of living in our cities has spiralled out of control. Meanwhile, studies estimate that half of Canadian jobs could be impacted by automation in the next decade alone. We proposed exploring basic income in BC because we believe that government needs to have a plan for the changes on the horizon.”

“When people are secure, they are more likely to feel confident starting a new business or returning to school. Investing in British Columbians’ success is the best way we can ensure a thriving local economy for generations to come. Further, research shows that basic income can provide income security while reducing the costs of other supports,” said Weaver in a news release today.

David Green, chair of the Basic Income Expert Committee and professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC says:
“Much of my work centers on policies that can reduce inequality and create a more just society. I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to an in-depth examination of the implications and benefits of a basic income and enhanced income support structures here in BC.”


Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador won by a landslide.

Monday, July 2 ~ NATIONAL. North American political and trade relations continue to undergo complexities.

Following his overwhelming majority win, Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador said he supports reaching a deal on renegotiating NAFTA with the United States and Canada. However, there is uncertainty in the overall NAFTA process now with an escalating trade war of tariffs and counter-tariffs between the US and Canada, and now with the new Mexican president not officially taking office until December 1.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today with López Obrador to congratulate him on his election as the next President of Mexico. Trudeau underscored the close friendship and dynamic partnership between Canada and Mexico, based on shared values, common goals, and strong people-to-people ties.

The Prime Minister and the President-elect look forward to cooperating on an agenda to create good jobs for people in both countries. The PMO’s office said the two leaders discussed the mutually beneficial economic and trading relationship between the two countries, and their shared priority of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement for the betterment of their peoples.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House July 2, 2018.

Trudeau and López Obrador “emphasized their desire to work closely together on issues that matter to both countries such as creating economic growth that works for all, advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples, and shaping a better future for Canadians and Mexicans alike”.

To possibly complicate matters (at least perceptually), former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had private meetings with key US trade officials at the White House today, July 2. As a private citizen, Harper had not notified Trudeau or the Canadian government of his trip to Washington.

By contrast, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (who led the development of the original NAFTA agreement with then-US president Ronald Reagan) has been cooperating with and supporting Canada’s and Trudeau’s efforts to keep renegotiation of NAFTA on an even keel.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with steelworkers in Regina, July 1, 2018.

Yesterday, on Canada Day, Trudeau skipped his traditional partying on Parliament Hill and instead headed across the Canada on a 3-stop tour. In Leamington, Ontario he visited with workers at a plant where tomato paste is made for production of ketchup by the Canadian company French’s. In Regina he met with steel plant workers. In Dawson City, Yukon he attended a community barbecue to wrap up the day.

Canada’s tariffs are matched dollar-for-dollar to a total of $16.6 billion in “unjustified” set of US tariffs on Canadian steel (25%) and aluminum (10%). The Canadian counter-tariff list is political in nature to assert pressure on US lawmakers in key states where their state economies normally gain by trade with Canada.

Some of the US products that Canadians may quickly find to be more expensive: household paper products; other paper and cardboard products; sewing machine accessories; printed postcards; certain types of stoves, fridges and dishwashers, washer/dryers; lawn-mowers; sailboats, motorboats; beauty supply products; packaged pizza and quiche; maple syrup, candies and chocolate products; fresh orange juice, gherkin pickles, strawberry jam, soya sauce, ketchup & mayo; dishwasher detergent, glues, adhesives.

After receiving public consultation about the first list released June 1, things like peanut butter were removed from the Canadian tariff list. Full list: https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/tt-it/cacsap-cmpcaa-1-eng.asp


Sunday, July 1 ~ BC. A single Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Richmond has matched all six numbers to win the $7 million jackpot, but the winner has not come forward yet.

The retail location where the winning lottery ticket was purchased, as well as the identity of the lottery winner(s)’ will be announced after the prize has been claimed.

• Lotto 6/49 was launched June 12, 1982.
• Odds of winning a Lotto 6/49 jackpot are one in 13,983,816.
• 68% of Lotto 6/49 tickets are sold via Quick Pick.
• The largest Lotto 649 jackpot ever offered in Canada was $64 million for an October 2015 draw (ticket was purchased in Mississauga, Ontario).

Lottery ticket revenues in BC are used for health care, education, and through municipalities for programs across the province.

All lottery prize winners across Canada have 52 weeks from the draw date printed on their ticket to come forward to claim their prize.